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Children's Festival pulls the plug

The International Children’s Festival has cancelled the top main stage act of Marionetas de la Esquina from Mexico due to the outbreak of swine flu in that country. “It’s a safety issue. We don’t want anyone alarmed.

The International Children’s Festival has cancelled the top main stage act of Marionetas de la Esquina from Mexico due to the outbreak of swine flu in that country.

“It’s a safety issue. We don’t want anyone alarmed. We didn’t want anyone worrying. We wanted people to come and celebrate and have a fun time. Having said that, it is certainly disappointing to me and to them,” said Troy Funk, artistic associate in charge of programming. “But in light of what has happened, it was the appropriate decision to make.”

Marionetas de la Esquina was performing in the United States when news of the swine flu epidemic hit. They completed their circuit last week and returned to Mexico for a two-week hiatus before they were to fly north to St. Albert.

Festival organizers started discussing cancelling the show April 30, then made the decision on May 4 after checking information from the World Health Organization (WHO). “It was a difficult decision and the only decision we could make.”

The puppetry company was scheduled to perform Emilio and the Enchanted Cow, a story about a young boy who copes with his parents’ separation by sketching an enchanted cow.

The show has been bumped up to the 2011 children’s festival. The empty slots will be replaced by one of Canada’s favourite children’s performers Al Simmons.

“We have contacted school groups and the general public with phone calls and we’re sending out letters. Everyone is being redirected. So far everyone is happy to see Al or another show.”

Anyone wishing a refund can call 780-459-1542. For an updated festival schedule visit www.childfest.com.


Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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